OPINION: Gore District Mayor Tracy Hicks, in The Southland Times of June 23 last year, said ''Roads are the lifeblood of the rural economy and any diminishing of that status has the potential to be very serious, not just for the local communities, but for the wellbeing of the entire economy''.
Great headline for a concerned Mayor Hicks but, as always, actions speak louder than words. And the actions of Mayor Hicks' Gore District Council are these:
This year roading achieves an increase in spend of 0.9 per cent, (38 per cent increase over 10 years), while arts and heritage this year benefits from an increase of 12.2 per cent, (258 per cent increase over 10 years).
A pragmatic person could remove chief executive Steve Parry from direct control of arts and heritage, as he has now, and put him to work on roading.
Water is essential to life and Gore residents need water. The water spend over 10 years has increased by 50 per cent. Gore residents endure summer hosing restrictions.
GDC has debt of $11 million and this has been projected to balloon out to $16m with an upgrade to GDC headquarters on Civic Ave and further arts and heritage expansion.
For anyone concerned about the burden of rates in Gore, if you think it is bad now, the GDC is laying claim to even more of your future, as-yet-unearned income. Electors need to think carefully about core council business versus discretionary spend, ie, fluff.
Three words are missing from the present GDC lexicon: ''priority'' and ''common sense''.
- The Southland Times